You as a parent guide your family in making their holidays more meaningful. It’s an awesome power that sets a tone for your children’s future memories. You aren’t only bringing back memories of your own holidays past, but you are helping your children build up their own store of holiday memories that they will someday share with their own children.
1. Tell stories of your family’s holidays when you were growing up
Ask your children, even very young children, to tell their stories. Their few years may not seem like very long to old, old parents like us, but every year for a child is a rich store of memories. My children love to start marathon storytelling session with “I remember when. . . .” I try to stretch their memories by telling them my stories, my parents’ stories, and any older family stories I know.
2. Choose decorations together
Ask everyone to brainstorm, plan, make, and decorate. We enjoy ourselves more when our opinions are needed and valued. My children have become attached to particular decorations. They use all of the years of accumulated extras to decorate their own rooms. Everyone needs evergreens and fairy lights.
If you have a piano or another instrument, play music together and teach your children holiday songs. If you aren’t so musical, put on a recording or your favorite holiday station and sing along. My favorite holiday CDs are 50s/60s lounge jazz versions of classics. This isn’t what I would normally listen to, but I think it brings back childhood memories of my mother’s cool jazz stations when I was growing up. We all sing and dance to our holiday CDs.
4. Go outside
Revel in the cooler weather. Play in the snow, build a slide, chase the dog. Run around until you are so cold you can’t laugh anymore, then come back indoors for a warm drink.
5. Fill your house with holiday smells
Whether you light a pine or bayberry candle, keep a pot of wassail on the stove spreading that spicy apple scent, or make your own peppermint cookies, smells are very evocative. Scents will help all of you make and bring back memories.